Parish newsletter, 2 May 2021
Fifth Sunday of Easter PMB 268
8.30am: Union of Catholic Mothers RIP
10am: Sabine Burger Rec Dec
11.30am: Anne Sheila Mitchell RIP
10am: Taigh Lyons RIP
10am: Holy Souls
10am: Ghanima Williams RIP
10am: Stephen Bowling RIP
The Sixth Sunday of Easter
8.30am: Debbie Bennett RIP
10am: Sean McCabe Rec Dec
11.30am: Priest Intention
We’re all in it together! There is no such thing as a solitary Christian. Each Christian is linked to Christ and to all other Christians. This is clear from the words in today’s gospel “I am the vine, you are the branches.” This is a beautiful image of closeness and interdependence. But it is also challenging. It’s so easy to forget the Lord, ignore others and live for ourselves, hardly even knowing that we are doing it. Billy Graham said about church membership. “You don’t become a Christian just by being a member of the Church. You don’t become a car by living in a garage ! Today’s second reading tells us that our love is not to be just mere words or talk. To love means !I am for you” and this means total self-giving, self-sacrifice.
First Reading Three years after his conversion Paul went up to Jerusalem. The disciples were at first afraid of him because of his violent anti-Christian activities. Only when Barnabas introduced him to the apostles did they begin to accept him. When he began preaching the Hellenists (Greek-speaking Jews) turned on him and tried to kill him. He was, they believed, a traitor. He had to be smuggled out of the city. Paul took all these struggles in his stride and continued preaching even more passionately than ever, thereby showing the depth of his love for Jesus.
Second Reading A hugely challenging reading. We can’t hide behind piety. We are to believe and act by bringing God into the world by acts of kindness. There is no substitute for active charity.
Gospel A homely and comforting allegory showing the intimacy of God and how we are all dependent on Christ and on one another. Christ is the Vine, and we are the branches. Vine and branches need each other (Don’t you think the pandemic has shown us this?) We go through trials so that we can be more fruitful. It’s when we try to go it alone that (ultimately) the trouble starts. Branches need to be pruned. We are to produce lots of wonderful fruit.
Baptism Preparation Please let me know if you re hoping to have a child baptised as we need to arrange a course of preparation. If all goes well, baptisms will be celebrated not earlier than July. Normally we would meet around the Baptism font on Saturday mornings at 9am for some serious input on the meaning of baptism and why it’s so fundamental.
Arrangements for the Sacrament of Confirmation For obvious reasons we are having to re-think the preparation for the Sacrament and the time schedule. I do think that it means waiting a little and getting back into the habit of regular Mass attendance. The restrictions should be eased over the next weeks and I think the confirmandi need to take the decision about re-commencing coming to Mass. There is not hurry about a date but I would offer every encouragement to young people returning to the parish for Sunday Mass
Thinking of becoming a Catholic or have not for some reason been confirmed ? I am hoping to start a course of preparation for anybody interested. I m not sure yet when or how but would like to make contact with those who wish to participate. There has not been a group of converts for a long time and I aim to put this right when possible – obviously observing the regulations.
Reflection LORD WE THANK YOU for the bond you formed with us, and for the bond that exists between us because of our union with you. Thanks to this bond we have invisible riches to share with one another. Grant that we may never be separated from you , so that we may produce in the world the fruits of faith , hope and love.
Please fill in the Form for Data Base. Many thanks to those who are helping me so generously with the office/administration/secretarial side of parish life. We are progressing well with the Parish Website and I should be grateful if you have not already filled in the form, either on line or in hard copy to do so as this will really help us get going! https://www.stgertrudes.co.uk/register
CAFOD We have now raised just about £1000 for CAFOD Four million children are dying in the Yemen. In the first quarter of 2019, 3.4 million died of hunger. Please help by making a donation. Envelopes available back of church and near Easter garden. . You can make a CAFOD donation any time. All candle money will be going to CAFOD.
Final Blessing May you be fruitful branches of Christ the true VINE. May you love be not mere words but something real and active. May the Lord confirm your hearts in holiness so that you may be blameless in his sight.